Sunday, November 7, 2010

Latest patient news

Lot’s of catching up to do here!

Miss B has been a patient of mine for over a year. We started with a lot of back pain, trembling. I checked a video of last November compared to the pictures I did last year, and we have quite a new dog! Miss B is a 10 yrs old Shiba Inu, and with the help of medications, acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, she looks (back and pelvis much straighter!) and feels so much better. She is even starting to loose weight without loosing her energy. We are now weaning her from her acupuncture sessions, and increasing the therapeutic exercises to get her a strong core and help her proprioception. This has been a joint effort with neurology evaluation, follow ups by her primary care veterinarian and me. This does emphasize the team work involved to help those patients. Compare her posture today compare with her video of 2009: 

Miss B Novemeber 2010
Cina is a 10 yr old kitty with osteoarthritis of her elbows and left wrist. Kitties can be very challenging to treat, however with patience and discovering what makes them interested in any activities, we can get a therapeutic and treatment plan on their way. Easy at all time? No, however always worth trying. My poster child Rudee needed brushing by the owner and treats. That was enough to get me to work on him by myself without restraining. Cina‘s environment has been modified to accommodate her problems. When a dog or kitty has front leg/neck issues, they should not be jumping down and running down the stairs, ramps is a good way to get out of the car, get down the sofa, etc. Lot’s of website now have stairs and ramps for easy access to cars, sofa, bed, etc, 
Cina after some therapeutic exercises and laser therapy
It must be the month of the Labrador Retriever; I have 4 that I am treating right now for different reasons (Spencer, Molly, Elsa and Duke). Most have elbow arthritis, and hip dysplasia with secondary hip arthritis. Luke, a 2 1/3 yr Golden Retriever just got out of surgery and had some fragmented coronoid removed (in the elbow). Arthritis will still progress but we are positive that taking out those fragments will slow the progression. We’re on the ball with all the supplements and weight control for Luke. We’re now starting rehabilitation.

Benjamin is getting acupuncture and some manual therapy every 2 to 4 weeks for his sore back. He has a lot of fusing vertebraes in his back so flexibility is decreased. It is so fun to see a difference at the end of the session, from a hunched little guy, his back is straighter at the end the session and he likes to play more at home.

Elisha is a continual work in progress. Of 3 different problems, surgery took care of 2. He still has problem getting up, but he is regaining strength in his hind legs. I am doing some physical rehabilitation with him (laser therapy, physioball, acupuncture) and he is going for underwater treadmill sessions too.

Chille has been very sick with some intestinal problems, so we now can resume our therapy for back and knee pain. Her 4 other brother and sisters are jealous of the attention and they all barked at the door after my treatment session. Yes, that day there was 5 Australian Shepherds present (without counting the cats); lot’s of action at all time in this house, and never a boring moment too.

Supporting family members

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carts for dogs and kitties (Aka Wheelchair)

I recently got a call from a client wandering if I carried a certain brand of wheel chair. She wanted one for her elderly dog who needed help to get up. It took about 20 minutes on the phone to let her know that it was unfortunately a bad idea for her situation. Carts are great for dogs (and kitties) with paralysis, arthritis, deformities, amputation, severe multi joint arthritis, etc. However, people need to understand their limitations. The client who called me wanted to leave her dog all day in the hind leg wheelchair. Here is why you can’t:

-For 8 to 10 hours, the dog could not lie down, or only on his front legs. Some of my elderly patients can barely stand up for 5 minutes.
-Most dogs will likely get caught in furniture or the cart may tip over, meaning you need to supervise your dog at all time when in use.
You need to view the cart as a way to be able for your pet to follow family members restoring a sense of belonging, and to exercise outdoor. Small dogs may do very well in the house if there is enough space to maneuver around, but they still require supervision.

There is more, not all carts are good for all dogs. There are several cart companies out there. The choice of one as well as add-ons will depend of:
-How tall and heavy your pet is
-How much support is needed; is your pet unable to move, or need a little support
-What are your physical capabilities? Some wheelchairs have removable supports other you need to lift the dog’s legs into the cart. Regardless, there is some lifting involved.
-Is your pet going to be outdoor crazy or just take a 5 minute walk? There are different wheels depending of how active your pet is. Some dogs go skiing/swimming… so be warned!
-Belly strap might be needed for those with weak core stability.
-The height you place the dog in the cart depends if they can use or not their legs.
-Booties might be needed
-Wheels will be placed under the dog depending of their mobility issue(s). Put them at the wrong angle and you will place undue stress on certain parts of the body
-some dogs have progressive disease and a versatile cart is needed to accommodate the changes so you do not have to buy a new one every few weeks/months (like in DM).
-Measurements are so important; it may even take 2 to 3 people to do so.
-A custom cart might be better then a one size fit all, for example a dog with a large lipoma on the side of its chest need a space on the side bar to account for the space taken by the mass.
-And more depending of your unique situation.

There is also the issue of introducing your dog/kitty to the cart. I have seen so many clients just buying one without any professional help, spending the money to get a custom fit cart, and then be disappointed because the dog refused to be put in it. Patience is the key, and trained people in this area can make the transition so much easier.

So the bottom line: let a professional guide you in the choice and fitting of a cart to increase your chance of success. This will end up into a happy dog/kitty that will be comfortable. And let’s face it, they may outrun you! Just check my facebook page for all the fantastic stories about the wheelchair dogs, or should I say the wheelchair that gives them wings…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pet-A-Palooza October 16-17

The So Cal Pet Expo organization puts up several fairs in OC to help place homeless pets. I had a booth in the one organized in OC: The Pet-A-Palooza last weekend. I took a picture of this lovely Chihuahua with a deformed leg and with the sweetest personality. If you want to adopt her (picture below), please e-mail the No Stray Left Behind group at . OK, so I have a bias towards Chihuahua if you haven't guessed it yet!
I am soooo cute!
We were treated to several entertaining shows, and the ones I had to pleasure to look at were the dog stunt show ( ), and a dock diving competition.


These gatherings are also a great opportunity to meet a person like Lorrie Boldrick DVM, who’s the veterinary supervisor for Freedom Dogs. The organization offers custom-trained specialty service dogs to wounded members of the military returning from armed conflict (

Bone Cancer Group talk October 22

This last Friday I was part of something very special. Last year, I was asked if I would talk to the Bone Cancer Dog group annual reunion. The group is composed of dog owners who lost their dog to bone cancer or pet owners interested to hear about it. They give information about bone cancer- (treatment, how to deal with amputations, etc, etc), and function as a support group. When I put my talk together, in concert with Nicole, we settled on holistic OSA-osteosarcoma- prevention and holistic pain management. Little did I know how big this group was. It was an experience well worth being part of.

When I got to the meeting place, well ahead of schedule, I met some of the members and got to know more about the Bone Cancer Group ( When I asked one person where they came from, I was surprised to see how far some were from. Not only they came from all over the US, but one person flew from Canada. For the last 6 years the group has been getting together once a year to meet, pay tribute to the loved ones they lost to bone cancer, do a memorial (so touching, each owner had a rock with a paw print and their name on it) and hear about what can be done for this raging and devastating disease. Even more impressive was when I talked to Ana Cilursu. She is an MD and is making sure people are helped in the best of way, making sure the information is the most scientifically accurate and helpful. So much information is out there, internet and all, and takes advantage of people in a dire situation promising cures. As usual I will tell you that if it sounds too good to be true, run away. OSA requires a multidisciplinary approach, and not one thing will take care of it.

When I was done with my talk I was delighted to answer people’s questions and hear about how they’ve been dealing with their situation. I was touched when Nicole presented me with a gift bag for the talk I gave them. One of the items in the bag was a book written by one of their member, Doug Koktavy: “The legacy of Beezer and Boomer” Lessons on Living and Dying from my canine brothers. In a world that might underestimate how attached we become to our pets, this book is welcomed. I already started to read it. A lot exists on how to deal with our beloved pets when they’ve passed away, but Doug felt that nothing was written about how to prepare you with the inevitable. He hopes this will be helpful to other owners.

Can I ask a question?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd. Recalls Limited Production Code Dates of Dry Dog Food Because of Possible Excess Vitamin D

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 8, 2010 - Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd., recalls certain dry dog food because of possible excess Vitamin D that can affect the health of some dogs. The Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd., is recalling certain packages of its Wilderness Chicken, Basics Salmon and Large Breed Adult Chicken dry dog foods sold under thc "BLUE" brand which have the potential to contain excessive levels of Vitamin D. To read more: 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Elisha's latest

Elisha is coming along fine. He had surgery 17 days ago. Last weekend, we took him out. He is on exercise restriction for another week. Part of his rehabilitation right now are range of motion and stretching of all 4 limbs, laser therapy around his surgical sites to improve healing and decrease pain, as well as electrical stimulation of his hind legs muscles.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Continuing education

Learning is always ongoing with any fields of veterinary medicine.
Coming up, I'll be attending:
-one day in November with surgeon Sherman Canapp from VOSM ( on sport medicine with topics such as advanced diagnostic for orthopedic injury, shoulder/elbow injuries, hind limb strain/sprain, rehabilitation for orthopedic conditions, tarsal and carpal injuries.
-2 1/2 day on mobility issues and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in February 2011by Dr. Bruce Fergueson DVM MS
VOSM gym in Maryland

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hartz Recalls Dog Treats Over Possible Contamination

The Hartz Mountain Corp. has issued a voluntary recall of about 75,000 8-ounce bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs due to potential salmonella contamination. No illnesses have been reported.

The Food and Drug Administration found the presence of salmonella organisms in Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs. The potentially affected treats are stamped UPC 32700-11519, Lot code BZ0969101E.

Veterinary clients with questions or for information about reimbursement can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414.

Monday, September 20, 2010

When you give a chance to let a dog express herself

Elsa is very special, actually anytime I get into Cheryl's house I wonder what other tricks her kitties and Elsa have learned:
-Turn on lights (kitties)
-Turn on the garbage disposal (kitties are guilty again)
-Chew on everything they find (we're talking about the cats, not the dog!)
-Likes to be vacuumed (yes the dog)
-Wave with both  front legs together (one of her kitty). You can check it in person on my practice videos, follow the vimeo link on the right end side of the blog
-Greeting disorder: Elsa likes to howl when she greets me at the door
-On command will modulate her bark to almost nothing
-Tries to share a seat with me while I write my medical chart on her (yes Elsa again)
Elsa trying to share a seat with me

Latest news

A lot has happen this month:
-A short vacation (well earned)
-A 3 day canine sport medicine course with dr Christine Zink, DVM, PhD, DACVP, DACVSMR
-New patients like Howie, Layla and Spencer
-Surgeries coming up for Elisha, Luke
-And the passing of some of my client's senior pets: Mackinac, Tiki; and unfortunately young ones like Rogue where her condition deteriorated rapidly beyond help.

Coming up will be a talk on pain and cancer in osteosarcoma dogs, and a booth at the Pet-A-Palooza at the Irvine Great parks:
Canine sport medicine class in Colorado

Spencer, 13 yr old Labrador!
Tiki, 4 yrs ago; he died at the tender age of 20!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dog Days of Summer in La Habra, July 31, 2010

Originally uploaded by rehabvet
Dog days of Summer in La Habra, July 31, 2010. Paws Back in Motion had a booth at this event.
I took the opportunity to take pictures of all the demos they had: police dog, flyball, agility, frisbee, herding dogs, dancing dogs. Check the practice videos library for the flyball videos I took!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another food recall

The maker of Iams-brand products said it was recalling two lots of prescription cat food because of possible salmonella contamination.

No illnesses have been reported, the company said in a statement. The affected lots include Iams Veterinary Formula Feline Renal in 5.5-pound bags, said Procter & Gamble, which owns the brand.

Sports medicine and rehab specialty recognized

As of June 2010, the American Veterinary Medical Association has given provisional recognition as a veterinary specialty organization:  Sports medicine and rehab specialty recognized

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Patient news

Here is a picture of Max.Yes, he is very shy, but I got fast enough with the camera to get this one.
Sad news, last week, Archie's parent did put him to sleep. I did several acupuncture treatments, which made him feel good, but his cancer just rapidly got worse. He will be missed.

Elisha is doing really good. He is walking more and more with the help of Cindy.

Daisy, 15 1/2 yrs old and still going!

Tiki receiving an acupuncture treatment

Monday, July 12, 2010

Elisha, again

I checked my calendar, it's been 6 weeks since I started therapy with Elisha. We're now taking longer walks and getting in the park where he used to take his daily "promenade". We are a far cry from the first day I have seen him too. I remember that first time: cold feet, could not get up, scared of being touch, painful neck, sad face. Elisha is so much calmer and a more willing participant to his healing.

We are doing so many things to get him better, and it is working for him. Not all cases do that well and it is only a delight to see him walk, be a happy dog smelling the grass (and munching it!). And the smile and happiness I see on Cindy's face is priceless.

Latest video is up in the Paws Back In Motion video library.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New poll

Look on the right end side of the blog under practice videos. New poll on medications used in pain management in pets. Next month will go through each right answer and explain where each is helpful. Try your knowledge, or luck :-)
And yes, the hint is that you have several right answers....

Pain in pets

Ouch, pain. Not fun, but unfortunately a big part of life. Did you know some people are born not able to feel pain? This leads to auto mutilation since they do not feel pain, and also shortens their life. Pain is necessary so you do not burn yourself, crush body parts, freeze yourself, etc, etc. Pain tells you also, do not move that sprained ankle and wait until you feel better to get going again. If you are in a state of fight and fly, your body may override those adaptation mechanisms to permit you to run away on the worse of injury (mountain lion attack, etc). These are mechanisms to help you survive.

It was believed, not long ago, that animals since they cannot tell you if they are painful, that we could not tell when they were. We’re much better now and we even have pain scale for dogs and cats. Since pain in pets can be subtle, it is our job as veterinarian to inform you how to detect subtle changes of pain. This can be, not as active, not jumping as high, moving more slowly, shorter walks then before, etc. A pet in pain will not necessarily vocalize. If you have mild to moderate arthritis (and a lot of us have it), we do not complain all day long and so do pets.

Now, pain becomes a real problem (a pain in the ….), when it becomes “maladaptive”. Meaning, your body has changed the perception of pain to one that does not serve any purpose. Chronic pain triggers changes in the nervous system, which can make you feel pain around the site of injury with a non painful light touch (allodynia), feel exaggerated pain (hyperalgesia) and feel pain at other places then the original injury site (secondary hyperalgesia). Actually, it makes me think of acupuncture where you can treat the opposite knee to get pain relief on the painful one.

As you can see, pain is not an on-off button. Changes in the nervous system do make it challenging to control pain sometimes. As we learn more about pain, we realize a combination of drugs can help our chronic painful patients. Also, we are learning more about choosing the right medication(s)/modality(ies) for the right type of pain (nerve pain, inflammation, combination, etc).

Want more information? Check the following website:

I feel no pain, mmmm

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Merrick recall

Product Recalls: dog treats
By The Associated Press (AP) – 3 days ago
The following recall has been announced:

_ Merrick Pet Care Inc. is recalling one lot of 10-ounce bags of Beef Filet Squares for Dogs because the dog treats could be contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals, and people who handle contaminated pet food can become infected with salmonella, especially if they haven't thoroughly washed their hands. No illnesses have been reported in people or pets, according to the Amarillo, Texas, company. The recalled Beef Filet Squares were shipped to distributors and retailers throughout the U.S. The treats were sold in 10-ounce plastic bags marked with the best by date of March 24, 2012, and the lot number 10084TL7. For more information, consumers can call 800-664-7387.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Latest news

Well, Elisha is still getting better. Walking longer amounts and having more desire to be outdoors. We are not arguing about going through the kitchen door anymore. He just wants to go. After we're done our physical rehabilitation session, he is so tired, but he is so relaxed and looks so proud of himself.
I posted a video on vimeo. If you check the right end side of the blog, you will see the link to Paws Back In motion videos.

Elisha taking a break on the front lawn of the park where he lives.

It's been a busy week and let's welcome Mooshi, Archie and Duke.

You can needle me anytime as long as I eat (BoyBoy).

Feline's Pride recall


Shelby Gomas,
Tel: 1-716-580-3096
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 1, 2010 - Buffalo, NY – Feline’s Pride is announcing a voluntary recall of Feline’s Pride Raw food with ground bone for cats and kittens, Natural Chicken Formula, Net Wt. 2.5 lbs. (1.13 kg., 40 oz.) produced on 6/10/10, because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. People handling raw pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the raw pet food or any surfaces exposed to the product.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A tail (oops tale) of a vacuum....

Some pets are just precious.
Cheryl  has Elsa, this full of energy Labrador, which, well likes to be vacuumed. This picture is not a trick, and yes the vacuum is loud and she just loves it.
And Elisha? we're walking longer distances. Doing more exercises. I am so pleased with his progress.

Welcome to Warrick, this lively Labrador/Golden Retriever mix.
Mackinac turned into a model so his owner, Harriet, took a ton of pictures during our evaluation and acupuncture session. In 5 years, this is the first time I had to put strings attached to the needles, just in case they flew feet away. Mackinac tends to shake his head and I need to place the needles on his face. He does really well during his sessions!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Latest patients news

Latest Elisha’s progress: we are now walking about 75’ and doing ball exercises or cookie stretches before going back up the ramp and into the house. We’re doing so well! Elisha is still stubborn, trying to turn around at the kitchen’s door. However, some words of encouragements (read: sorry but you really need to go forward), and then we go. Once outdoors, you can see Elisha’s ears and demeanor change. He looks so happy, wants to walk forever (well almost!), and even got to smell grass like he used to do!

Sparkle has been my patient for the last 6 months and we have been doing our best to keep up her quality of life. This last week has seen a major deterioration and her owner, Caron, finally decided it was time to say good bye. She will be missed....

Tiki, a 20 year old Tonkinese, is a long standing patient for the last 3 ½ years. These days, the area I am concentrating on is his severe elbow and knee arthritis. I do manual therapy (mobilizations, stretching, massage) and laser therapy, which is all I he needs to start walking better. This little kitty had pretty much frozen shoulders when I started with him. People do not realize how much compensation happens when one part of the body hurts, or the amount of decrease movement in an arthritic joint. Then, when I see the patient, I need to treat a lot of different joints and muscle imbalances.

Guam 1944 and war dogs

Yesterday I saw a very touching TV documentary. It was the story of the canine unit during the war with the Japanese in Guam in 1944. The surviving soldiers talked about their bond during training and the hard days of the war in the jungle. Those dogs were their friend and were very useful on spotting/hearing/smelling the enemy before the humans did. They were involved in dangerous missions and their action helped the army take Guam in 1944.

Of the 500 dogs they used in this unit, they lost 25 dogs. Each lost was devastating to the handler. The bond worked both ways: one handler was killed by enemy fire and his dog stayed side of the body and did not let anybody touch the remains. Some of those dogs were given to the army only for the time of the war. After it ended, they dogs had to go back to their owners. Most soldiers were so bonded with their dogs they ask to keep them. Because of the nature of the army training, the dogs that went back in civil life had to be detrained. Surprisingly, only 4 dogs did not make the cut. So the majority went back to normal life with kids and family. Most of these dogs were Dobermans, but in the documentary you saw a lot of other types of dogs too.

A memorial status was erected in Guam, and now at the University of Tennessee at the College of Veterinary Medicine, celebrating the dogs that fought side of the soldiers in Guam.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Elisha's ramp

Almost done! Cindy had a carpenter build a ramp especially for Elisha these last few days. This carpenter is actually looking for work if anybody needs his services (San Clemente, CA). Today, we had a good session. Elisha is now impatient to walk and go outdoors, it's getting hard to get him to wait before he gets out off the bed. He walked down the ramp no problem, just the same hesitation in the doorway. We got him down and did some ball exercises before getting him up again. He did very well, but we can see he still gets tired fast.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Latest news about Elisha

Elisha is getting better very fast. From couple of steps last week, he can now walk several steps before getting tired. He still seems scared to get up and walk, but with encouragements he tries really hard. He even tried to get up by him self (what an improvement!). 2 days ago, we tried walking him toward the door to go the outside ramp. That was a little scary because we knew he tumbled down the ramp which resulted in the problem we are dealing right now. So we made sure one of us was on each side of him. At the kitchen door, he did not want to go through. It took 2 seconds of me insisting to direct him that way, and there he went. He looked a little scared to go down the ramp, so we took it slowly. This was a success. He took a 15 minute break on his favorite bed outside. The picture tells how he felt. I was a little worried about getting him up the ramp, but he did very well. Cindy told me his gait is now pretty much back to normal.

So far, so good!

Oh, and Cindy is working to rebuild and improve the ramp. I can’t wait to see it now!


I got word from Caroline and John in Italy that they just put to sleep their wonderful Jack Russell Terrier Ratso. This little guy could have a book written on him about his stories and travel through Europe and the US. He was quite a lively character, always ready for action, ready to hunt any little critter, and getting into any food (like the huge olive oil container…).

He will be missed.